Dr. Mark E. Pruzansky
Dr. Jason S. Pruzansky
975 Park Avenue New York, NY 10028

Restoring power to a partially paralyzed hand: Louise Hunnicutt’s Story

admin | December 19, 2012


As a scenic artist working on commissioned projects for television, theaters, museums, galleries and private homes, Louise Hunnicutt is especially reliant on optimal hand health for her profession. When the base of her right thumb started hurting, the painter’s first thought was that she had somehow injured it, although she couldn’t remember any specific incident that would cause such pain. “Over a period of six months I went to eight doctors,” she remembers. Finally diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Hunnicutt received surgery that helped alleviate the pain.

Despite the procedure, however, the muscle at the base of her thumb remained profoundly weak. “My thumb was just hanging there,” says Hunnicutt, who did everything from tying paint stirrers to her thumb to training herself to work with her non-dominant left hand. Eventually, terrible cramps drove her to seek relief with a physical therapist, who in turn recommended that she see Dr. Pruzansky. “He suggested I have a tendon transfer,” she says—a procedure in which an extra tendon from the ring finger is moved to the thumb to compensate for lost muscle power, dexterity and mobility.

After four weeks in a splint and a course of occupational therapy, Hunnicutt’s hand has become once again fully functional. “My hand is just as strong as it was before,” she says. “If it weren’t for Dr. Pruzansky, I would have lost total use of my thumb. For that I will always be grateful.”